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How To Choose the RIGHT Yoga Teacher Training for YOU

This article is designed to help you find the right place to do your first 200hr yoga teacher training. We also published a guide helping you decide if you should take an advanced training and another listing our favorite specialist trainings (SUP, aerial, etc). 

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Yoga.

A practice that has the ability to change lives. It can help heal, transform and inspire the masses.

Whether you’ve been on your mat for months or for years, the thought of becoming a certified yoga teacher has probably crossed your mind. It could be from the incessant training advertisements at the studio or on social media, or maybe it’s the blissed-out post-training grad you’ve witnessed proclaiming how yoga teacher training has changed their life. (Which, it probably did). 

With the massive surge of people becoming certified yoga teachers, it’s no surprise that you’re curious about what it entails. 

If you’re looking to deepen your own practice (like Brandon), learn more about yogic philosophy, or have a sincere desire to teach others, teacher training is for you. 

If you’re still undecided, here are 5 signs you’re ready for teacher training.

With the influx of trainings offered all over the world, choosing a training can be a daunting task. As this experience is a serious investment financially and otherwise, it deserves mindful consideration and research before enrollment.

In essence, this goal of this article is to help you find the best yoga teacher training for YOU.

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A quick word for the wise:

Yoga is one popular remedy for a generation of seekers. For good reason, there are many benefits of yoga teacher training. We find solace in the way it brings us back to center amidst a technology-driven, information-obsessed world. It comes as no surprise then that we want to dive in head first to learn more about the practice and its myriad of other benefits.

Yoga studios understand this. They also understand that programs (teacher trainings, etc) are the best way for yoga studios to earn money. Not blaming the studios, they deserve to earn a fair income!

That being said, some studios and yoga schools take shortcuts. We heard numerous horror stories.

  • Allowing inexperienced teachers to lead trainings (yikes)
  • Teaching half the course via Skype (does that even count?)
  • Training leads making unwanted sexual advances on their students

What’s the point of bringing this up?

To make sure you’re aware of the situation. So you fully understand the importance of doing your homework and carefully selecting the right training for you!

Alright let’s get into it!

I’ve spent countless hours researching trainings and have personally completed two, 200-hour yoga instructor trainings. Here are my best tips for selecting the best training for you!

How to Choose the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You

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Choosing the Right Instructor(s)

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200 hours, even spread out over the course of a year, is a lot of time to spend with someone. In addition to the time commitment, yoga teacher training can induce some pretty intense emotions and energy. You’ll want to be certain you feel confident and comfortable in the guidance of your chosen instructor.

Is this someone you’ve learned and studied from previously? I highly encourage taking multiple classes from the teacher you’re considering training with before making up your mind. Is their style something that resonates? How long have they been teaching? How many trainings have they run? Do you feel a strong connection to them? If you can answer these questions with raging positivity, then I think you have found your person. 🙂

How Many Students Will be in Your Class? 

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Did I mentioned that 200 hours is a lot of time to spend with someone? 🙂 In your research, find out what the capacity is for the training. This can vary greatly from program to program. If you already know you prefer more intimate settings, this will naturally eliminate some trainings from your radar.

In my experience, my first training (10 weeks) was with 30 people and my second was with 10 people (4 weeks). If I were to change anything, I’d prefer a longer training (10+ weeks) with a smaller class size (8-12 people). I see benefits to both class sizes, but the smaller class size does allow for more personal guidance from the instructor(s). Smaller class sizes also allow for more intimate connections to your fellow teacher trainers.

Larger trainings offer the opportunity to connect with more like minded people.

Is your Training Certified by the Yoga Alliance?

Yoga Alliance provides a framework required for every Registered Yoga School (RYS) to follow to be able to lead 200-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings (YTT). It also provides insurance, resources and other benefits if you’re a paying member.

Many studios require that you receive your certification from a Yoga Alliance RYS. Most programs will tell you straight away that they are part of Yoga Alliance, but confirm this before committing.

Yoga Alliance has the following requirements for 200-hour programs:

  • Asana/Alignment
  • Anatomy
  • Sequencing
  • Philosophy
  • Prop use and modifications
  • Hands-on adjustments
  • Teaching practice
  • Meditation

Where is it Located? What’s the Schedule? 

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You training can be completed in as little 4 weeks (intensive) or extended over an entire year (created for working people). You can get certified at your neighborhood studio or fly to Bali.

To determine what’s best for you, think about your current situation as it relates to work and your social life, and how YTT could affect that schedule. Training is indeed a commitment of time and energy (not to mention a ton of money) and it’s often likened to taking on another job entirely. Take this into thoughtful consideration as you decide which program will work best for you. Remember, it’s not just the class hours, but the hours of personal practice, teaching practice and other homework assignments.

Consider the “all-in” costs of the training:

If you decide to stay local, what are the complete YTT costs plus transportation? Be sure to check for hidden costs such as course materials or special workshops.

If you decide you’d like to travel, what are the complete YTT costs plus flights? Is accommodation included? Meals? What value do you place on a travel experience and what’s that worth to you? Remember, there is no “best place to do yoga teacher training.”

Training Hotspots around the world:

  • Ubud, Bali –> remember Eat, Pray, Love?
  • Costa Rica – Anne did her 2nd training at Danyasa, tons of other great options
  • India – India yoga teacher training programs are very popular. However make sure you do your homework if you’re considering this. We saw many ‘fake yoga schools’ in India.
  • Mexico
  • United States

What is the Cost of your Training

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Yoga Teacher Training is not cheap. It doesn’t matter how long or short the course is, it’s still going to cost you. Your yoga teacher training cost can range from $2,000 – $5,000+ depending on many factors such as: on-site or off-site housing, meal plan, guest teachers, materials, special workshops, business of yoga training, etc.

If you’re traveling for training, be sure you know exactly what’s included (accommodation, meals, materials, etc.).

What do you place high value on? What exactly are you looking to extract from this experience? Will being at home or away help you get what you want?

TIP: Many programs offer payment plans if you need it! Just ask!

Reputable School?

It’s important to note there are no best yoga teacher training programs. Instead you have to do some digging. If you’re able to chat with graduates of the program, ask them about their experience. You’ll learn first hand if it’s a reputable program or not. 

Is the studio well-established? How many locations? How many trainings have they done?

Trainings held at larger more corporate national studios with locations all over the nation provide a very different experience than the small independent studio. What speaks more to you?

What type of content are you looking for?

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There are many types of yoga teacher training. If you’re researching a Yoga Alliance accredited school (a good idea), your training requirements will be broken down into the following categories: Techniques, Training and Practice, Teaching Methodology, Anatomy & Physiology, Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle and Ethics, Practicum, Remaining Contact and Elective Hours.

The school you choose may provide more emphasis within those categories to specific elements of yoga and yoga related topics. If you want to be certain you’ll just be learning one specific style of yoga (Iyengar, Jivamukti, Yin, Vinyasa, etc.), be sure to select a training focused on that style. Or at ask the teacher training leads if that style will be covered. 

For reference, the more “corporate trainings” usually focus on getting you ready to teach (at their studio) as quickly as possible. This means you’ll spend more time learning how to teach and less time on other topics such as: pranayama, philosophy, anatomy, etc. For many people this is the right approach. Bonus points for this style of YTT is you’ll have a good chance at getting hired by them once you graduate.

On the other hand, some trainings have a heavier focus on philosophy (which may be unique to their specific style), and less on teaching. Are you looking to get a teaching job right away or simply want to understand more about philosophy? Knowing this will help guide your decision making process.

Frequently asked questions:

Should I enroll in an online yoga teacher training program?

It depends what you’re hoping to get out of the training. We absolutely LOVE online learning environments however sometimes cannot be taught online: adjustments, public speaking, hold space, learning how to observe your class and make changes on the fly.

Yoga teacher training online would be suitable for anyone who just wants to learn the philosophy, history, etc.

If you want to go the digital, try to find the best online yoga teacher training that you can afford. Ask students who have completed the program for feedback. Read reviews, study the syllabus, etc.

Should I enroll in a standard 200 hour yoga teacher training or a something niche?

For most soon to be teachers, the general 200hr teacher training is the move. However if you already know what you want to study such as yoga therapy training or trauma informed yoga training, then go for that! Also, know that you can always take a workshop or mini training to learn about your unique topic.

200hr teacher trainings very quite a bit in the details, but they always cover the required sections according to the Yoga Alliance.

Am I ready for yoga teacher training?

This is a hard question to answer as everyone is different. To help you out we wrote an article covering 5 signs you’re ready for 200 hr yoga teacher training.

How much is yoga teacher training?

We covered this in depth above, but the short answer is it depends. Local training cost around $2,500-$3,500. Fancy trainings in Bali or similar cost upwards of $5,000.

What is NOT included in Yoga Teacher Training?

A 200-hr training may sound like a long time, but in all reality it’s incredibly short when you consider the demands of being a yoga teacher. Knowing time is limited, it’s not surprising that certain key elements get glanced over or aren’t covered at all.

The glaringly obvious one is The Business of Yoga!

Most trainings provide a single 2hr lecture to cover “the business of yoga.” Obviously that is not nearly enough time to prepare students. New teachers get sent out to the wild to fend for themselves – often struggling to find a teaching job, or quickly burning themselves out.

What can you do about it?

Take control of your life. Understand you have some additional work to do if you want to be a successful yoga teacher. Find a mentor and seek out additional trainings or online courses to ensure you have a good grasp on the business side.

If you’re ready to start learning, here are some of our top resources:


In the end, it’s all about YOU

Spend time reflecting on what you want and need. What would the best yoga teacher training in the world look like for YOU. What truly resonates and speaks to you deep within yourself? Take time meditating, practicing, even talking it out with teachers and friends. In the end, yoga teacher training is an incredible experience. It’s (usually) well worth the investment and you won’t regret it. 

What questions do you have about selecting a yoga teacher training program? I would love to hear your thoughts!

I’ve got your back,
Anne

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How to Choose the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You

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About Anne

Anne is a passionate yogi who loves to be active outdoors. When she's not traveling to destinations near the equator to practice yoga and eat tropical fruit, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up nourishing meals with her partner, Brandon. A music junkie at heart, she is currently spinning: Tor, Hiatus, Friend. and Giyo.

4 thoughts on “How To Choose the RIGHT Yoga Teacher Training for YOU”

  1. Nice post! My two cents

    * Read reviews on facebook, google plus and the yoga alliance site
    * Thailand (Chiang mai, koh pagnan) has also several schools
    * the ytt’s in ubud are very, very expensive
    * ytt’s in India tend to neglect westrrn anatomy. Easy to do yourself wit di books and youtube
    * have a regular practice before you start (3 a 4 times a week for at least three months) and get a base of the theory (think Iyengar’s Light on yoga)

    Reply
    • Hi Rene! Thanks for your valuable two cents 🙂 Great tips to read reviews on social media and online prior to committing. Good call with Thailand – and the info about India. I have also heard similar remarks about trainings in India lacking western anatomy. I agree having a regular practice before you start is crucial. <3

      Reply
  2. Hi Anne

    In Australia the most reputable Yoga Teacher Training organisation is the IYTA, International Yoga Teachers Association.

    I have had accreditation with the 3 largest and most credible training organisations in Australia over the years and IYTA consistently stands out as the place to get comprehensive Yoga Teacher training and they have the best Student/Teacher support.

    IYTA is more like a “family” than an overseeing body. Always helpful and they work with you on a heart to heart level.

    All the best
    Dean

    Reply
    • Namaste, Dean – Thank you for providing input on a reputable organization in Australia! You have sparked an idea in us… gathering information about the best teacher trainings worldwide. Sounds like you’ve received a great training there!
      Take care 🙂

      Reply

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